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Podcast Season 4 Episode 1: Amanda LaPlante

Amanda LaPlante battled autoimmune and mental health challenges for nearly two decades before discovering the power of food and lifestyle as medicine and dropping sixty pounds and over a dozen prescriptions. After reclaiming her health and creating greater ease in her body and life, Amanda wanted to help others do the same. She became certified as a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach, an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, and a Certified Pain Management Coach. She specializes in assisting clients with complex chronic diagnoses, helping them to find purpose, passion, and hope for healing. Amanda has worked in clinic with several top-notch MDs in the St. Louis area and understands the challenges patients and doctors face in today's health care system. In addition to coaching, Amanda is a sought-after educator and speaker, devoted to empowering patients to break through limiting beliefs, and to inspiring providers to change the way we deliver healthcare today. 

Website: amandalaplante.com
Facebook: facebook.com/getrealtoheal
Instagram: @getrealtoheal
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/aklaplante
Hello, and welcome to STL Active St Louis's premier health and wellness podcast. STL Active aims to give listeners in the St. Louis area the information they need to succeed and progress with their health and fitness. This podcast is brought to you by stlouispt.com and hosted by Doctor of Physical Therapy, Greg Judice.
Hey everyone, its Dr. Greg, owner, and physical therapist at Judice Sports & Rehab. On this episode of the show, I'm interviewing Amanda LaPlante. She battled autoimmune and mental health challenges for nearly two decades before discovering the power of food and lifestyle as medicine and dropping 60 pounds and over a dozen prescriptions. After reclaiming her health and creating greater ease in her body and life, Amanda wanted to help others do the same. She became certified as a national board-certified health and wellness coach, an integrative nutrition health coach, and a certified pain management coach. She specializes in assisting clients with complex chronic diagnoses, helping them to find purpose, passion, and hope for healing. Without further ado, let's get into the interview with Amanda love plant. All right, welcome to the show today. We've got Amanda LaPlante with us. Thank you for being here.
I'm excited to be here. It's great to catch up. Absolutely. So I've known Amanda for what, four years now. Oh, wow. Yeah, I guess. Yeah. And I think my very first interview as a business owner was on your radio show. Hey, so I finally get to repay the favor. Thank you for a little while later. Yeah. Happy to have you. So why don't you start with given the listeners a little bit about your background and who you are?
Yeah, so I am a national board-certified health and wellness coach, an integrative nutrition health coach, and a certified pain management coach. I handle a whole lot of other things in life, a mom, a wife, a friend, all of those good things, right. But, you know, ultimately, in my business, I came to this Well, actually, do you mind if I share a little bit about my story here? That'd be great. All right, because you know, what I do? Is, is really only pertinent to Yeah, I think in my mind to why I do it. And that is because, over the course of about 20 years, I was diagnosed with seven different autoimmune diseases, I was struggling with anxiety, depression, ADHD. And life was, life felt like a battle. And it was hard. And at one point in time, you know, by the age of 32, I'm 41 now, but at 32, I had 18 active prescriptions. I was seeing six specialists in a primary care physician every month. And I could not get out of bed most days. I was working from home before working from home was, you know, the cool thing to do, right? Yeah. And, you know, I, by the time I was 34, it's been a couple of years really overweight, very, very sick in bed, on bed rest, and I was being told by my doctors that I should pursue disability and that meds and bed were my future. And at 34 years old with, you know, a seven-year-old, I think was seven years old at the time, my son, I thought, this just can't be my reality. I refuse to accept that this is where it's going to go all up until that point, it was like, Okay, well, you know, who can I go see next, who can fix me. And at that point, I really realized no one was going to fix me. I had to fix myself or find a new way to navigate my reality. Because it was all on me at that point, you know, it really became clear to me that there were no answers for someone with the complexity of what I had going on. So I went a bit rogue. And I started, you know, it occurred to me to like, while I was laying in bed with all of that time to think right, and, you know, pray and try to figure out what it was that I believe and why am I here? You know, I really, I realized, you know, whether our doesn't mean regardless of beliefs, if you don't mind, if I go a little deeper here, regardless of beliefs, whether you believe that we evolved, or that we were divinely created, or any spectrum of those two in between, our bodies are really amazing. And the fact that we're even alive is a miracle. It's amazing. And so I kept laying there thinking like it's got to be something I'm eating something I'm doing there has to be something I can do to influence this amazing machine that I've been blessed with in this reality. And, you know, so it and it just came through to me so strongly, like my body is not meant to break down this way. So for me, I started at that point, really researching nutrition. And I fell down a rabbit hole. You know, of course, now we have Dr. Google that we can turn to anytime with discernment. Right? And let's say sometimes dietary was pretty rough. I don't recommend it. I'll tell you that. Although, you know, there were a couple of my illnesses that I was dealing with at the time that doctors weren't able to figure out they weren't able to diagnose they just kept writing it off. You know, here's another pill here. You know, you've got this mental illness or what I didn't I knew that there was Physical issue going on. I knew myself, you know. And so in consulting and doing that research on my own, I was able to actually figure out that I had a rare condition called rheumatic fever with Sydenham Chorea, which was one of the things I was dealing with extremely rare kind of an orphan disease. And I was able to figure out through my own research that there were some tests that can be run to figure out if this really was what I had. And lo and behold, I go into the doctor, and he's like, Oh, no, you couldn't possibly have that. That's only something that happens in kids. That doesn't happen to adults. I said, Well, maybe but I think it's happening to me, can you just run this blood test? And he did, and it came back, and of course, he's like, lobby.I can't believe it. And so I fired him, and then went out and found another doctor. But But you know, so so thank God for Dr. Google in that scenario. And yet, yeah, there's the old joke that you know, all things point to chrones, basically, like you go on, and it's like you, no matter what your symptom is, it all points towards some chronic disease. And in my case, this actually was true and did help. But backing that up, you know, I started, again, just researching nutrition, learned about gluten free living certain other things really start to re, you know, instill the ability for my body to heal and be nurtured. And it was completely life changing. So flashing forward, you know, say 18 months after I started that journey, I had lost almost 60 pounds, I had dropped all but two medications, out of that 18 that were prescribed at the time, which some of them were fighting each other, you know, which get in a whole nother conversation about that. But, you know, when I had really gotten back to life, and I thought, Man, if this is my reality, and I can live this way, I don't have to live that way I can have this life, I could not in good conscience, look around at any other person walking alongside me in this human race, and leave them to that same fate, I had to at least do what I could to help and be of support so that other people could break free and go out on their own journey and live their best life. So at that point, I asked a doctor that I had been working with a functional medicine, MD, who I love and still work with Christina Robbins, she's fantastic. And I said, you know, if I could fit into this paradigm, this this new paradigm I see emerging, which is integrative and functional medicine, you know, it's kind of stepping away from the old conventional, you know, Western model, taking the best of what it's brought us because, man, it's a blessing like with sydenham chorea if I didn't have antibiotic intervention, I wouldn't be sitting here. so incredibly grateful for modern medicine. But also, you know, it's this functional or integrative perspective as pulling in nutrition, mindfulness, all of these old principles, right, that are getting back to basics, things that people have been doing for 1000s of years to build health in the body. And, you know, I said, How can I fit into this new paradigm that I see where people these, you know, these brilliant practitioners are waking up and going, let's take the best of what we've got, let's pull, you know, any and all other proven methods, let's pull those together. And she said, you know, what, you would be an incredible health coach, because you live it. So here I am, you know, it's been five years in practice. And hundreds and hundreds of clients helped 1000s that I've spoken to, you know, in audiences and inspired and a life full of purpose, and free from, for the most part free from disease and learning how to live within this body in a way that that is truly embodied and integrated. And boy, that's the biggest challenge, I think every day. Absolutely. And I mean, there's so many people that are dealing with chronic conditions, whether it's pain or bowel issues, or whatever combination within there. So that's fantastic. So I'm glad that you've kind of found that helping other people deal with, maybe not exactly the same thing with similar things has been rewarding to you and rewarding to them as well.

Absolutely. And I think, you know, it helps to keep me grounded in my own health journey, because it's not over I still have the same genes, and I'm still living in the same body, right? It's just I've learned to manage it differently. And I'm constantly learning and working and striving to a little bit better, a little bit better, a little bit more. So it helps to keep me grounded just to see and be inspired by other people as they step up to the plate to it's very cool.
Very cool. So I've just a couple comments, based on your story there. You said that you that you went rogue. Right. So I don't know that that word just kind of spoke to me when you were saying is like What other choice did you have? Right, right. I mean, you'd been in the medical model, the typical medical model for how long and hadn't gotten anywhere? Yeah. 18 decade, right. So I have said this to every client that I've worked with with chronic stuff is like, if this doesn't work, that doesn't mean nothing will work. Right. I think it's important to for people dealing with chronic conditions to know that there's always something else. There's never an app, there's never a point where someone is tried everything you can't possibly possibly try it all. So there's always another option. I think that's important for people to know. And for you, you tried everything that you knew of, and then you went rogue. Well, that's exactly what you needed to do. But you didn't know it at the time. Yeah, and
I don't think going going rogue when I say that, I think a lot of people are like, oh, rogue, you know, like, it can have positive thing, it can have a connotation, right. But it can be a positive. It's listening to your unique wisdom, listening to your inner voice, following your intuition, doing your own research, it is empowering you going rogue is going out on your own and believing and trusting yourself, to figure out how to once again trust your body, to rebuild health, if you created this illness, perhaps you can cure it, perhaps you can heal it, it's, it may very well be all within you, at least I'm finding more and more on my journey that it is all within me. You know, and we can, you know, we can attach to or, or reach out and connect with guides along the way healers, helpers that can help us to, you know, stay on that journey. And on that path, connect us with new resources, new insight and wisdom. That's such a gift. But we have to really ground in ourselves and trust our own inner voice too. And a lot of people have been disempowered in the previous system,
right? Make sense. So to kind of touch on a point you brought up earlier that the polypharmacy right, it's the the typical medical word for medicines that counteract with each other. So maybe go into what your experience with that is, and then we can kind of touch on how that affects people in general. Yeah, I would love for you to do that. And so my experience was, again, it was I was seeing all of these different specialists. Now I do think I will say flashing for, you know, this was 10 years ago, almost on my on that part of my journey, you know, I was seeing all these different specialists, and they weren't connected into a centralized system, my hope is, I am starting to see more integration technologically to where people are talking to each other a bit more. But one thing that I haven't seen fixed, and having recently worked with several amazing, brilliant specialists, right, one of you know, some of them were tapped into this insurance system. And, and, you know, into the hospital systems, etc. But one thing I haven't seen fixed is that, you know, nobody wants to change what another doctor has done, you know, you go to this doctor, and they see that you've got XYZ medication and other doctors that you're seeing, they don't want to be the one that broke something, I guess, would be a good way to put it, you know, there's a lot of liability, right, that they're carrying.
And I think that's exactly the right word is they're afraid to change someone else's stuff, because then they're liable for their own decision. Plus, taking away from someone else's decision, it's almost doubling your liability to being a
doctor or working in that system is a high stakes game. A lot of people don't, you know, I really understand that intimately after having worked in clinic for a bit now, you know, it really it was it was fascinating to come from that side as a patient and to have had my case as mismanaged as I think any case could be. And then, you know, I did have some frustration with the system, I was kind of angry at it, you know. And as I settled into this, this new journey in working with practitioners and working with providers, as a health coach, you know, becoming into this this profession, and then getting to go and work in clinic, it really did change my perspective and outlook, I'm so incredibly grateful for it, I really see, you know, how many healthcare heroes we have out there that are just doing the best they can to work within a system that, quite frankly, isn't operable? It's just not working, especially for those complex cases. So back to the the pharmaceuticals. Yeah, I mean, I had medications that were fighting each other, and I would go and talk to the pharmacist, you know, but they didn't also, you know, they were kind of telling me the risk factors that said that there wasn't really anything they could do, either, they're not the provider, right? And so I really was caught up in this , I felt I fell through the cracks would be a good way to put it. And I see a lot of people going through that,
right. But it's basically the the fact that you got prescribed a medication that creates a list of side effects, then you're taking a different medication that helps with those side effects, but then it creates its own side effects. And so then this compounds into 18 medications, of which only only two were necessary after six months,
well put in Well, in a lot of that was, you know, I had nutritional deficiencies. I had genetic components that we had to look at where I wasn't processing B vitamins into a usable form effectively, it wasn't methylating. So therefore, if you're not methylating, you're also not detoxing, there's lots of other things that come into play in that part of the conversation. But yes, ultimately, that I think the thing is, a medication is not always a solution. Sure. And it can cause more deficits and more side effects and more issues for which you then receive Yes, like you said, another medication and then you have more deficits and more side effects and more things and you receive another medication, and it goes on down the road. And eventually you're on all these things. And you're like, what am I even doing? And yeah, it was it was really dramatic unless you made it through it, to be honest with you at one point. Just a couple years ago, I was speaking on a panel with a psychiatrist and several other you know, really wonderful, noteworthy professionals that were just absolutely brilliant. I put it actually put up my medical record of those 18 prescriptions, I just threw it up on screen. Because you know, it was point of interest and the professionals and providers that were there. So one of the psychiatrist, I heard her go
and total contraindication.
And, and she caught something that no one else had caught to that point. And I've given this talk a couple of times and shared that, you know, other things. And she goes, you could have actually died, she's like you you had, she's, you couldn't possibly have avoided being serotonin toxic at that point. And describing some of the symptoms, I was like, Yes, that's what I dealt with. And she's like, You're lucky to be here.
That's crazy. But that's how that works, unfortunately. And so there's basically two ways to combat that. And one is integrating the medical records, so where you can see everything at once, that's one way to do it. The other way is to have a quarterback, right, that's your primary care physician that knows what all of the specialists are doing. And they're managing the case, as the quarterback, they may not be the guy scoring the touchdown, right, but they're the one that's, you know, in charge of the whole case. And so if you weren't having someone that's taking control of that, then it can get out of control, because you've got specialists number one giving for medication specialist number two, combating those specialist number three, combating those side effects. And then there's no one looking at, at it from the big picture. And ultimately,
you're being pieced out into a bunch of organs and systems, and we're not you're a whole person, everything is connected, they all play together, right. They all share the same blood supply, right? And thus, all every medication is affecting all of you the whole of you. Right? So yeah, and finding a primary care physician that's willing to step into that role and embrace it and be responsible for it. Whoo, that's a tall order. Yeah, it's tough, especially when primary care is the lowest paying physician status. So it's just kind of an a conundrum with the system right now that we need to be able to fix some way or another,
which there again, takes me back to the idea of empowering yourself to be your own your own best advocate. And it's one of the things that I really spend, you know, as, of course, every, as a health coach, every class, you know, session is client LED, I am really meeting them where they are honoring them as an individual, they are the expert on their own body in life, and I'm helping them to step into and own that role. And that's important, because they can really make a big difference when they go in and they are at, you know, if they're actively doing the research on their own as the intelligent human beings that they are, to really understand what are the medications? I'm on where the impacts these could be having? Do I need this? Have I really looked into my condition from all angles? Is there something that's being missed here? Have I talked to, you know, somebody that maybe has an integrative perspective that can look at genetics, etc, etc? and just see like, Are there underlying conditions? So yeah, being your own advocate is I think, where that really starts and then finding a partner in a primary care somebody that you really can believe in? Sure. Yeah. So this kind of struck me. Do you do most of the clients that you work with have fairly decent medical literacy?
I would say it's a mix. Yeah, I would say it's a mix. Because I've
worked in places where 90% of the people are one or two out of 10. And medical literacy. They don't even they don't know enough to be an advocate for themselves. So I'm not sure what the solution is for that. Right. And I think that's part of why Dr. Google, going back to him has been so popular, not accurate, but popular. Because what else? I mean, you don't know enough to know what to ask. You don't know enough to know what's right, what's wrong. So it's hard to be an advocate. If you don't have that understanding of what the heck's really going on? When you
don't know what you don't know. Exactly. It's hard to correct it. You know, it's hard to navigate that. I will say this, I think this is one of the reasons we are seeing a health coach uprising, most of the health coaches I have met are like myself, most of them not all, but a lot of us are coming to this because we had extraordinarily complex health journeys, we figured something out. Well, you know, we just had compassion. Like, once we figured something out, you know, once we found, you know, a way to improve our situation, we thought, well, let's be part of the ripple effect and spread this thing forward. Because, you know, we want to be part of the solution. We want, you know, what I would have wanted for myself, I want for everyone else, you know,
so other than you just being a nice person like, and because of your experience, what was your motivation to become a health coach? I know you told the story, but like, yeah, you could have just been someone that sat on the sidelines and helped your family members, but why start a business around it? And well, that's
a funny story. Actually. Thank you for asking you for saying that because that actually triggers a memory for me. I tried that. I did try that part. Because, you know, I have a master's in communication, I had a rewarding career in PR and marketing and I was doing fine. You know, aside from the the crushing health issues that were causing me to have to work from home while I do it, you know, but I, you know, once I started learning about and became passionate about an issue, once once you've been to like the brink, right, where you've laid in bed for days on end with bone crushing pain, been so sleep deprived, that you hadn't slept in 96 hours because of medications you were on, and various mental health challenges you were having, because of nutrition deficiencies, I now realize, you know, genetic issues, and that can be fixed, you know, not fix is a word, but that can be modified or made, you know, better. It really changes your perspective on life, or at least it did mine. I thought, Man, you know, I mean, I came back from the brink. What does this all mean? Why? Why am I here? You know, what is this all for? And, and I became very, very passionate, though about, you know, gosh, people can be living, they can feel better, you know, and you look at, like, you know, we look at family members, and they were struggling with health issues, because I mean, genes are genes, we share them in my family, right? So I would look around and I just, I had this heart of compassion, where it's like, I've been, where you've been, and then some, and I want to help. And so I would try to share information with family members. And I remember there was one moment where my mom and I were having a conversation, and I said, Well, Mom, as she said, what about this, if they check this for you, and you might try this? And she goes, I mean, you know, you talk to me, like, you're some kind of doctor or something like, you really know, she's like, you don't have an education in this, you don't know. And, and it just, quite frankly, it just pissed me off. It made me mad.
I'm a little ticked for you. For me. I know,
it was like my own mother. Sorry, mom, if you're listening, but, um, but I was so grateful for it. Because when she said that, I was like, Well, you know, what, there's no reason I couldn't have been, you know, I'm not going to at this age, I didn't want to do and I didn't want to be part of that paradigm. But I thought, you know, there's gotta be some other way that I can get into this. So that was actually what prompted the conversation with the doctor that I had been seeing for myself and and then thus health coaching was recommended started looking it up. And, and I thought, you know, this is a way to cuz I was in sales and marketing and PR in various forms over, you know, a couple decades. And so I was used to selling people on something or another, right, like promoting a topic or resource or person or company. And I thought, well, I can't think of anything better to promote than health, because it all starts there. If we were all healthier, more grounded individuals in this world, would we be in the conundrums that we find ourselves in so often in our society? Probably not. If people were happy and, and healthy and able to live the life that they want to live, because health coaching is life coaching, life coaching and health coaching, it all breeds together, right? It would solve a lot of things. So I thought I can't, I can't imagine a better purpose than helping people to find their light again. That's awesome. 
I love it. And that's, that's kind of what I wanted to hear is just like, there's more, more to it than just oh, I think I'd be good at this. It's like, finding helping people find purpose is like the coolest trait. So like working with people that have hurt for years, and they haven't been able to play with their grandkids or haven't been able to go on vacation, because they're afraid to use a walker or whatever it's like, those are the rewarding stories. So I'm sure you have plenty of stories like that.
Oh, absolutely. Yeah, and you know, afraid. That's a big word, you know, afraid to use a walker, or in some cases, you know, I've worked with people who are in, say, their 20s or 30s, that have extraordinary chronic pain conditions, and they're afraid to move, you know, when moving is scary. What a life, right? You know, or in and then moving on down the spectrum, right? Like, you know, how could I possibly step out and get this job of my dreams? If I don't have confidence in my ability to make it to work every day? or whatever? You know, it's? Yeah, it gets heavy sometimes.

Absolutely. So we now know like, why you help people and then your story and kind of some things that you're looking for, but how? How is it that you differ from a functional medicine doctor, because I've had some functional medicine doctors on the show? So I think people if they've listened to those episodes, kind of get what that's all about. But how does a coach differ from the practitioner in implementation?
Yeah, so a coach is not there to treat or prescribe. We're there to be a guide on the side, you know, somebody that can help you to activate your internal and external resources to move you forward in your health journey, by meeting you wherever you are, in that moment, and being that source of support that source of resources, inspiration, but, you know, I would say this, you know, if you're looking to find with a lot of people go to those functional medicine doctors, and I'll give you an example. They'll get a food sensitivity test done, you know, for instance, and it's like here, here's your report, and they'll spend 30 minutes or an hour like walking them through what they can't have anymore. And then good luck. And then Alright, we'll see. And, you know, here's your bill, and we'll because you know, it's not covered by insurance, and then we'll see you in a few weeks. So people are like, okay, now what? So I can actually help people as a coach, you know, I've had so many people that come to me, and they're like, I've got all these test results, I got all this going on. And then they've got to implement that into their everyday life. And it's overwhelming. And for some people, they're able to just sheer willpower determination, right? Like, just Okay, I'm gonna figure this out, I'm gonna do this. And they'll, they'll do it for a minute, you know, for a few days for a few weeks. And then at some point, life happens. And they fall off the wagon, and they're back where they started or worse, because their mindset has shifted now because they've quote unquote, failed, or they've, you know, they've stepped off that track. So having a health coach to help you implement all of those pieces, that's I love working with functional medicine practitioners, because I don't, you know, diagnose, treat or prescribe, I step in, and I help people to really deal with the reality of reclaiming their health and navigating all of those different pieces that they've now got put into place, the data is great. But if you can't implement it, it doesn't matter. You know, that's what makes the difference. And health coach are really a skilled health coach can step back and really look at and understand what motivates people what's going to help to keep them motivated, keep, how do we get them in touch with their Why is their lifestyle balanced, or their relationships that are stressing them out so bad, that they're never going to be able to make those food changes, you know, or whatever else it is, you know, it's looking at all those factors of the whole person, taking all of that and helping them to become integrated, you know, and then take all of those data pieces, and then that other information that they need to work with, right in order to manage themselves with their food and lifestyle, and make it small, sustainable changes they can put in place over the course of time. So I don't work with people for like, I don't do one off sessions. I just don't unless, I mean, the rare exception would be if somebody just wants a really deep dive on their food sensitivity test, you know, they want to bring it in and just come up with bounce some ideas and like, understand, you know, the ins and outs of it's not just what you eat, it's also how and when you eat, there's all these different factors. So I actually have, that's the only thing that I will do one off of, and that almost always leads to someone wanting to do a program. But I typically work with people for at least six months at a time we meet every other week, we put in in place, small sustainable goals, usually 123 that they're going to work on for that two weeks in between seeing each other, and then they come back, we talk about what worked, what maybe didn't work as well as they'd like. We make some, you know, course corrections, some adjustments. And, and, you know, we talk and we keep them settled and keep their nervous system, calm and keep them grounded. We talked about what the hurdles are that they're dealing with? How can we find creative solutions to them, and just keep them moving along in a way that feels sustainable and manageable, not overwhelming, doesn't shake them to their core, I think that's the biggest difference between a health coach and a doctor.
Yeah, and I think that's exactly it. Because if you, you could give the best book resource or pamphlet or whatever print out in the world, with all the perfect information. But if there's no follow up on that, if there's no real strategy to implement consistently, and be able to rebound from a quote, failure, even though it's just an experience, not a real failure, then it's not going to succeed long term. So I think it's, that's crucial. So I have I've heard the health coaching profession, painted into different lights, right. And when I'm talking to you, everything I hear is like this, I believe in that I trust that it's positive thing. But then I also see the other side of the profession where there's people that are 19 years old, and have zero life experience, and they're trying to be a life coach, so that they don't actually have to get a real job. And so, and I'm not trying to make fun of the profession in general, but there are some other sides to it. So I'd love to kind of get your perspective, you've obviously been through the training. So I'm not saying that about you in any way. But like, what would you have to say in response to that? Oh,
that's a big one. Yeah, cuz that's something that he occasionally it gets under my skin a little bit, you know, or you can go and join in my
perspective, or the fact that there are others.

Both? Both, maybe I don't know, maybe both. But because the thing is, you can go out and join you know, you can sell a product like join multilevel marketing. I won't name any specifics, but you know, in this, some of them, they're fantastic products. I mean, there's a reason that they're successful, but now they've started to say, and you can be a health coach with such and such product, and I'm like, what does that mean? And I will have people that run into me and then you know, some people that I know well, and they're well-intentioned and wonderful humans right? But They'll say, Oh, yeah, oh, you're a health coach. I'm a health coach, too. I'm like, No, listen, dude, I studied for months, and I took board exams with the National Board of Medical Examiners so that I could be like a professional health coach,
there's some you took a two-hour seminar where you watched a video online, and you watch
you watch the video and you know, and hey, we can learn lots from videos. But you know, there's a difference between a Board Certified PR and by the way, there are health coaches out there that are saying that they are board-certified with something like the American Association of drugless practitioners or something like that, where all they have had to do is pay a fee. And then they get a sticker. And in not in before now, I will say this. There's the caveat, though, before anybody that's listening, as in that scenario goes, Well, Amanda said and wanting to hold on. So the National Board of Medical Examiners only introduced board certification in 2018. So it's, it's a very recent thing to be able to attain this level of certification, and there is still no licensure available for health coaches. So back to your point, like, the term health coach is something that is only still becoming defined. Sure. And that's so it's something that as a consumer, you have to really use discretion. You know, do your research, know your stuff, have a conversation, do a consultation, you know, I offer a free consultation, even though a lot of my contemporaries, they, they charge for their concerts, I don't, because I really want to work with people I want, I only want to work with people who are like just dying to work with me, you know, like, who are really motivated. And, you know, because I want to progress, and I'm going to progress personally and professionally if they're my clients. It's it all, we're all connected. So I offer that free consultation, so you can get to know me, you can understand my level of knowledge, we can see if we're a good fit to work together, et cetera, et cetera. So those opportunities exist and ask for them. You know, interview the person, you know. Yeah, I think all of those things are important. But there is a level of coaching, you know, coaching psychology, education, nutrition, education, other things in there are different coaches out there that specialize in specific niches. So, you know, do your research, ask good questions and understand that that that label, it's a little watered down, it doesn't necessarily mean anything until you get to know what's behind it for that individual. Yeah, that makes sense. Yeah. And I think that's important with anybody is, you know, what do you call the person with the worst grade in medical school? Call a doctor, right? It's the same thing equals degree, right? Yeah, it's don't mean much. But the point is, like, there are people that have done a lot more work to get to where they are, with the same title as someone who's done next to nothing. And I'll also say this to tap to touch back on, say, the 19-year old that wants to be a life coach, I know a few of those. And quite frankly, some of them are brilliant. It's not, you know, age can just be a number, I think the important thing to think about there, and this is true for myself and for everyone, I can only speak to the level that I've been to myself, right. So in that's not necessarily age-relevant. It's a lot of times it's life experience, professional experience, whatever, you know, so I do, I try to keep a very open mind whenever I'm talking with people. And I try to really get to know where their perspective is where they're coming from, you know before I place any judgment on that, but I will say this, if, you know, again, just going back to these, if you want to truly be a professional and you want to deliver the best possible product that you can. Okay, I'm going to caveat on that one thing. There. There are there's somebody I ran into at training recently. And she said, Oh, well, you know, some people have what she call it, imposter syndrome. She said, some people just go after, they have to have all these letters behind their names because it's imposter syndrome. And I'm like, yeah, or perhaps we just want to understand what people understand about a certain body of knowledge and know as much as we can about that, and then go on and trust yourself to develop your own perspectives and takes and systems and programs. But, you know, I'm a fan of certification, I think it's a good thing, because it gives you an idea of what base level of knowledge that person has, and then their own perspective, their experiences with their, you know, professionally and personally, etc, can enhance that. And they can develop their own through their own research, additional programs, etc, etc. But you at least know that they have a base level. Right? Yeah. It's,
it's important, because there are, like you'd mentioned, there are plenty of certifications that are, you know, take the class pay the fee,
I could create a sort of you could create as we could create a certification program tomorrow and make
some stickers. Exactly. Because those are fun. Yeah. But that doesn't mean that that is actually worthwhile doesn't mean that people that take the class that we just invented and haven't done any research in are going to be better at what they do. So it does take some research to figure out what do the letters mean, what do the certifications mean?
It doesn't even touch touching back on the ADP, the American Association of drugless practitioners, I've thought about joining just Because there's there are some good connections, contacts, and resources in that, but there is no specific training program. There's nothing that really warrants say, you know, being a Board Certified practitioner, the way that it's currently being done, I'm hopeful that organizations like that will step up and make those changes in the future because now there's a standard for it.
Very good. So you mentioned this earlier, but the term ease versus disease, right, so I'm trying to figure out, I mean, I know what the words mean. But how does that apply to your clients? How does that apply to you? And what did you mean by bringing that up?
Boy, so this was something that is a long story as to how I came to that realization story that we will not tell today. But you know, it occurred to me, I kept seeing this pattern, I'd have clients that came in now whether they were wanting to optimize or you know, and they were, you know, quote, unquote, type A, like driven professionals that just want to optimize for longevity, or they were coming in with some, you know, long string of chronic conditions they were dealing with, and just wanting to find a way to manage those in their life. I found that a lot of people, you know, one of the biggest factors that's creating disease in their body, or creating the fear of disease in their body is stress, frankly, just stress, constant worry, constant anxiety, constant stress. And, you know, anxiety. I was at a talk recently, my son's going in high school, and there was a talk for Catholic schools. Yeah, in high school. He's kind of mind-boggling, isn't it? Like, he was a little guy? I know. It happens, it happens very quickly. So you're telling me you feel old? Dude, I get it. Yeah, so we were at a talk and psychological professionals speaking and she said, You know, there's a recipe for anxiety, it is too much change for too long, constant change over a long period of time. And a person's fear of their ability, or their lack of confidence in their ability to handle what's coming next. And, and that's very interesting, too, I run across that a lot in practice, as well. So where I'm going with that is, you know, a lot of people come in, they're super anxious, they're super worried they're taking on way more than their physical body, or their mental capacity can handle at a certain point without giving themselves play, and breaks and ways to let that off, you know, that pressure valve, right. And so it really occurred to me that like the opposite of disease, in there are many reasons, you know, physically and otherwise, that disease manifests in the body. I'm not trying to write any of that off, but a big crux of it in wanting to heal and come back to balance is just really realizing that the opposite of disease is not necessarily wellness or health, ultimately, wouldn't that be wonderful, and that's where we all want to get. But if we can create more ease, that's really the opposite of dis-ease. That's what disease is, it's just ease in your body. So how can we create more ease in your body, if we create more ease in your body, We thus allow it if we want to get scientific with it, we allow you to slip into your parasympathetic nervous system more frequently, which is where you rest digest, heal all the creative thought all the good things happen in that nervous system state. And we don't spend much time in that state in society. So ease is the solution. In many ways, how can we create more of that in that's even for me, that applies in you know, I live with extraordinarily complex conditions that I try to manage as holistically as I can, then I am able to do it, but it feels hard at times. So it's starting with the mindset, right? So I can choose to I have to eat, you know, gluten-free and I don't eat corn like there's certain peanuts, you know, there's a lot of things that I have very severe intolerances to, that create inflammation in my body. In order to avoid that I have to eat a certain way. And that takes effort. It's not it's it's not something that comes without effort. You know, I have to think through and I have to plan and there are these things that have to be done right at the cooking. Exactly. And it's a trade-off. Right? Would I rather probably sit down on my butt and like to veg out and watch Netflix then get up and go do what I need to do in order to make that stuff happen. Probably most days, you know what I mean? But not anymore, but that's where I was. But it came to a point where it was like okay, how can I make this feel easy? As easy as I can trick myself into if I need to at first and then eventually believe it right? Fake it till you make it. But how can I create more ease around all these different habits that I need to keep in place in order to manage my wellness and well, I could go on from there but I hope that at least gives a little peek into what I mean there. Yeah, it's because I was gonna
ask like, What is your definition of ease? Like because to me that sounds like right, we have mentioned this earlier, like becoming a pleasure robot or you don't really do anything, it just everything is easy. Where there's no desire, there's no effort, there's no thing that you're working towards. That's what I hear. And maybe I'm thinking of it in the worst way possible, which is likely. But that's what I hear when I hear ease. Right? I don't disagree that that sounds nice sometimes. But you mentioned the stress being the biggest cause of disease. That being said, stress is also a great performance enhancer, in certain situations, as long as it's not overdone, right, if you've got the 92 Dream Team against the sixth grade basketball team, they're going to win, but they're certainly not going to perform at their best because they're not being challenged. They're not being stressed. If you put, you know, another team that's got good NBA players against the 92 dream team, now they actually have a reason to play harder and better, right. So that's a very crude example. But like some stress can be good.
Oh, absolutely. I mean, so we look at you know, there's distress or there's you stress, right? You stress is good stress, not a bad thing at all. You know, it's it's the piece that I want it but here's, here's the point on that. So when I do public speaking, oh, man, it used to just terrify me. Right. And at some point, I realized, you know, there again, distress and you stress and sometimes not always, but sometimes, you know, there's certain situations that are definitely distressful. But there's sometimes there's a thin line, right? So there's a thin line between fear and excitement, terror and excitement, you know, and I learned that in public speaking, it was like, Okay, how can I use this? Like you said, How can it be a powerful enhancer, performance enhancer, a motivator, but again, this is this is perception. We get to choose how we perceive that.
So how do you train yourself to perceive things that are usually seen as negative to most people like public speaking, right? Because there there's literally been studies were like, what's your greatest fear? and more people would say, public speaking over dying, is a bigger fear. Now, that might just be, because what came to mind first, right. But the point is, like, how, and I'm not asking for myself, because I feel like I've done much better personally with public speaking. But how would one change their perspective? So significantly, from something that's genuinely terrifying? to something that is exciting?
That is a really fantastic question. I think that's a different, the formula can look a little different for each person. Sure. You know,
is that part of the fake it till you make it?
I mean, is that just Oh, but I think at some point, it's just, at some point, I think it's a combination of a lot of self work as well. You know, I don't have a direct answer to your question. But here are some thoughts that come to mind. You know, for me, I think it was radical self acceptance, radical self love. Releasing expectations, you know, and being willing to fail sometimes, you know, again, quote, unquote, fail, because it's not, it never is, you know, you learn something, you move forward. But it really is just accepting, how do I put this accepting that you are it, I am an imperfect and imperfect person, right, I'm here having this physical experience, it's going to be challenging times, it's going to be hard. And it's just that constant commitment to finding, finding what's profound, and what's beautiful in every moment. But it everyone comes to that in their own way. You know, at some point, I just reached a breaking point where I was like, you know, what, I can sit here and I can worry about it and worry about Don't worry about, it's not gonna make me any better at what I'm going to do. And in fact, it's probably going to end just like In sports, the more you think about and you try, in certain situations, the worst you're going to do, right to practice so that you can react rather than just over muscle memory, etc, etc. Right. But it's, it's being in that state of flow. And so that takes me to other thoughts. You know, other things that have helped me with this are things like meditation, various different forms, I do about an hour of meditation a day, various different types. Some of them are movement meditation, some of them are our mantra or silent meditations, you know, and I'm constantly experimenting with different ways to tap into, you know, that when the observer conscious piece of me like that, that still core inside that allows things to just happen and come through. And I think that is really for me how I've gotten to that point, you know, radical acceptance of this is the way this is where I am. And I'm going to do the best I can with where I am. And it's what I had to do for my health. That's what I have to do professionally. It's just, it's what I do every day, sure, and helping other people to come to that point for themselves. And it's beautiful to see it when it happen. Is there an exact science as to how to get them there?
There's no formula. There's no formula that applies to every helping profession. Yeah, right. There shouldn't be an algorithm that creates a result, because we're all human. And everybody's a little bit different. Right? So, or everybody's a lot different Hell,
I mean, that's part of the reason why, you know, we could take that. So how you do one thing is how you do everything. That's one of my favorite expressions, right? And I use it in coaching all the time. But I find it applies in lots of different areas of life. So what you just said, that's one of the reasons why the system that we currently have in place doesn't work, right treats people like a number, a cog, and part of an algorithm. That's not how it is we're human, we're complex, were beautifully and wonderfully made, we're all unique. And when someone can take the time to really hear you, you know, like when you can sit down with a coach, or a helping professional that really honors you as an individual and listens to you. And for some people, I really get the impression that is the first time they have ever really been hurt.
Yeah, I can't tell you how many times I've seen people that are, oh, you're the third therapist I've worked with and I've got my third or fourth doctor. And it's like, Why? Why is it taking this long? Like, I'm not? I'm not, I will never admit that I'm the best therapist on the planet. Right. But why? Why is it taking so many steps to get to someone that can actually give a shit? Excuse me? Yeah, but it's exactly that. I mean,
that's, that's real. And beyond that, then if you dig a little deeper, and I don't, you know, with, with the nature of your work, I know, you probably get to know people pretty well, I'll tell you, as a coach, I get to know people really well we get into their spiritual or whatever they want to talk about, if it's on their mind and on their heart, and it's causing distress or disease in their bodies. We're talking about it. So as they want to. So I really get the impression in some cases that have been told, actually, by some people that like it is the first time they have really been heard, maybe ever, like in their relationships, and I watch their relationships in their lives transform and change as a result of of them hearing themselves, because they're having space held to really be heard. Sure. It's remarkable.
Yeah. So let's shift a little bit. So part of why you and I connected, most recently was over people dealing with chronic pain, right, and that chronic pain is very vague. But in general, typically, what I see the most of in the clinic for me is chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, those are kind of the the most obvious ones, right, more spine pain related things could be someone dealing with the arthritic joint that hasn't had a surgery or something like that. But there's a wide variety of what can be called chronic pain. And there's different definitions of what is chronic. So I'm going to try to get some of this out at the beginning. Chronic Pain is basically anything in my opinion over three months. So if you sprain an ankle, and it heals up in two weeks, and it feels 100% after six weeks, that's not chronic pain. Yeah, it hurt consistently for two to six weeks. But that's not chronic. If you sprain that same ankle, and you never actually let it heal, and you kept walking on it and kept, you know, hiking and doing stuff that aggravates it, and it four months later, and it's still hurting. Okay, now we have a chronic pain issue. So I see a lot of people with chronic pain. So I'd love to hear kind of your perspective on chronic pain, but more on the physical side, rather than like the nutrition and medical side.

Oh, interesting.
I know that I know, there's a little side, I know that there is a connection, I'm not discounting that. But just to kind of keep it within a 20 to 30 minute time frame here, because we could easily talk for hours. What is chronic pain?
Right? Yeah, so are you looking for Okay, so thinking about that, ways that I can help with that?
You know, because I think there's a lot of like mindset stuff that people don't consider that I think there's a lot of the psychological perspective work that that you would be able to help them with?
Well, I'm kind of trying to say like, how do you again to keep an eye on timeframe? If Okay, so So, let's say the so here's one of one of the things that I think is important is is neuroplasticity, actually like so realizing that we can rewire the brain in many ways to experience pain differently? Like we actually do have power over pain in that way. You know, and and for that matter, a lot of things in life, right? We can retrain the brain. If you met Amanda Laplante you know, 15 years ago, boy, she was a very different experience in the Amanda Laplante sitting here now, mindset was completely different. Lots of things are different, right? So you can rewire your brain to experience your world and your life in a different way and that and also really experience your body in a different way. So as an example with pain so one of the things they learned in Paying coaching school there was a guy who professor that was speaking and gave an example of, you know, he had been walking through the outback in Australia and brushed his leg against something and felt a little prick kept walking, you know, went got in the river went swimming with his, with his mates and got out. And as he got out, he looked terrible, and he passed out. And next thing you know, he woke up in a hospital found out that he had been bitten by an extraordinarily poisonous snake and almost died. So, you know, he had walked, he got bit by the snake, he was fine. He went in, he swam, he went on for another hour, you know, and then they rushed him to the emergency room. So the next time he's walking through the bush, and he walks by, and he brushes his leg against something, and he just has this pain, this reaction, he falls on the ground, and he's writhing in pain. He's like, all like, and it's, it's real pain, he's experiencing the pain. Well, he finds out, it's a stick, he brushes like on a stick, there was barely a scratch. But his expectation was drastically different. second time around, his expectation
was different. And thus the brain doing what it does in interpreting because pain signals are interpreted, right? You've got pressure, chemical, and mechanical, like different sensors in your body that will express then what you know is going on in the tissues and relay it up through various network to your brain. And then your brain has to make this decision, you know, various parts of the brain, we get into that some other time, but we'll keep it simple. Your brain has to decide how to interpret that pain. Is this something that we need? Is this drastic? Are we in mortal danger? Or did we brush a stick? And because of his previous experience in the setting being similar, his brain interpreted that he needed to hold the hell still, and that something really urgent was going on. And so he received that pain signal in that way. So this is an example of how we actually can work with the brain that, you know, he's had this, this exacerbate experience. So going back through and then retraining the brain to down regulate those pain signals, is possible. You know, if if going one direction is possible, the other is also likely possible, at least to some extent, will we ever get back to zero point, you know, where he's just walking through? And he experiences nothing? No. But can we make it a lot better? Yes. And so for people that are dealing with extraordinary chronic complex pain issues, understanding that mind can actually have some effect over over that situation is really empowering for them. And then you can get into other you know, sometimes people don't realize that some of the simplest and most effective ways to manage pain are things like tapping into your own internal pharmacy. So for instance, laughter when they say laughter is the best medicine and actually activates exogenous endorphins, if I'm stating that, right? But, so things like making sure that you're being playful, you're laughing, you're doing things that bring you joy, that actually activates your internal pharmacy, and shifts your body chemistry in a way that really does provide pain relief, as crazy as that sounds to most people, you know, or many other various different things that you can do through your own lifestyle. And then talking about food as medicine to you know, we can, we can affect our pain response and what we're dealing with in our body by just making sure that we keep our inflammation under control. So what you eat does actually matter. Stress management practices, they can make a big difference as well, because they're shifting your nervous system in a certain way that will then you know, again, our pain response being interpreted by the brain, if we're in an extraordinary, you know, place of stress in our life fight or flight response all the time, right, the brain is going to interpret that that injury might be much more significant. You know, for instance, so these are different things that we can educate people on. And as they become a little more educated, they become thus more literate. Sure, they understand their health in a different way. And they understand their body in a different way. And they start to be able to partner with the body, you know. And I think that's, that's probably one of the bigger points to share.
Absolutely. And yeah, the evidence actually shows that the more educated someone is about how pain works, the less their pain affects them.
Well, because it takes away that fear factor. To some extent, it's like, okay, when we realize that pain is actually meant to help us, it's meant to protect us.
It's a protective mechanism, right? If you touch the hot coffee pot, and it doesn't hurt you, you're going to burn your hand and not know it. If it burns and you feel it immediately, you pull your hand away and 10 seconds later, you don't even notice you did it? Right. So pain is obviously there for a good reason. But, you know, I think there's a lot of shame with pain. I don't even know how to describe why that word came to mind. But like, I feel like a lot of people think that chronic pain can be like in their head, right? I see a lot of people with like, Fibromyalgia that their doctors think they're crazy or their families thinks they're crazy. It's like no, you are you are experiencing pain, right? If you are experiencing pain, then it is real. It doesn't have to be a mechanical cause. Today for there to be pain. Today,
yeah, and there are some different layers to pull back. With regard to that, for sake of time. I won't go into all of it. But I think that's, that's very true. Yeah, I'm gonna, I'm gonna pause on that thought. But we'll another another time I'll go a little bit deeper into kind of some of the psychological, psychic psychic reasons for for pain being manifested in certain ways. Right. But it is real, you know, and I think that for me, I'll relate it this way. You know, I used to deal with a lot of chronic pain issues. Yeah, they were chronic, they went on for years, but pain issues, autoimmunity, things where I looked, okay, you know, even at the point, when I was 60 pounds overweight, I still looked okay. Like, I didn't look terribly sick to me, or to most people. And especially once I lost the weight, and I was still dealing with issues here and there. There is this, this shame, because it's like, you're not functioning in a quote, unquote, normal way, sometimes I wasn't able to keep up with people the way that I had been when I was younger, or whatever. And, and they don't always know. And it's almost like, I felt like I needed to excuse myself, or I needed to make sure that everybody around me knew that I was dealing with this thing, you know, otherwise, I would be doing all of these things. Right? You know, it's interesting how it affects your, your personal image, your self worth, your relationships, the way you interact with your your world. And all of those things do bring for many of us a less than feeling. And, and that's tough, you know, and even just the act of labeling someone with a disease. Is that that in and of itself is it's it can bring shame. Sure. So, you know, that's another thing. It's just like trying to p

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